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There’s an old philosophical question that’s really rather apt when it comes to the farcical ‘campaign’ against HS2. It’s “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” One could update it to the present day to ask “If an Hs2rebellion protest camp’s evicted and no-one was around to Livestream/video it, did it really happen”?

This question could have been posed today when an eviction took place today of the sole anti HS2 camp north of Warwickshire. Named ‘Camp Isla’ after someone’s canine friend, it really did seem to be a one man and his dog operation! Although it appears on Hs2Rebellion’s dwindling list of ‘protection’ camps, it hasn’t been any trouble for HS2 as nothing much has been happening – until today, when this appeared on the camp’s Facebook page.

This eviction must hold a special place in the annals as since this appeared, not a single video, livestream, photograph or any verifiable record of the event has appeared – despite the appeals for people to turn up to ‘protect’ the camp. This is all the more mysterious when one looks at some more claims made when the camp went from one man and his dog to group of people down a tunnel and folk festooning the trees! .

Needless to say, not of this has been supported by the slightest bit of evidence from anyone. I’ve little doubt an eviction has happened – but the rest strikes me as pure fantasy. Not one of them has a camera-phone? Well, that’s a first. Normally the internet is awash with long and boring livestreams recording every eviction.

Of course, the daft thing about all these Walter Mitty fantasies about tunnels etc, is they soon fall apart in the cold light of day. I suspect (and not for the first time) the ‘camp’ Facebook account will be kept alive to churn out messages of support, fictitious updates and claims of winning – but the reality will be very different. Mind you, the HS2Rebellion website is rather good at that too. Here’s the list of ‘protection’ camps they claim exist, with the reality added…

So, 8 camps. 3 of which no longer exist, 2 more which have been partly evicted and 2 more (Crackley and Denham) which are almost certainly redundant as there’s left to ‘protect’ anymore! Some ‘winning’! Two other camps have never made the list as one (Leather Lane near Jones’ Hill woods) didn’t last a fortnight whilst the other on Wormwood Scrubs has no permanent site and has less than 5 regular occupants! In fact, if you added up the regular occupants of all these camps together I doubt you’d find more than a few dozen people.

Pitch this against the largest construction site in Europe with 10s of 1000s of workers over 300 worksites on a 140 mile long route and you can start to see the futility of all this. Mind you, so can many of the protesters, which is why so many of them have wandered off back to other causes to fight yet more lost battles for Extinction Rebellion and other groups – hence some of the Euston tunnel refugees appearing in Lichfield to spray paint on a factory supposedly supplying military equipment to Israel! Obviously, political activism (just like being a SPAD to the PM) makes you immune to Covid or the need to follow lockdown rules! Whilst XR and it’s friends might not think those rules apply they might find the new police, crime, sentencing and courts bill which passed second reading by 359 to 263 votes rather harder to ignore as provisions in it will criminalise some of their activities. Despite my own personal reservations about the bill I will be interested to see how quickly it becomes law and how it’s used in practice against groups like Extinction Rebellion and HS2Rebellion.

Of course, today happened on the same day that HS2 Ltd announced the start of work on what will be one of the most visible civil engineering projects on phase 1 – the 3.5km long Colne viaduct on the edge of London. Unlike ‘Camp Isla’, this won’t be a one man and his dog operation! The world’s moved on even if the remaining protesters haven’t. Poor ‘Isla’ is left barking up the wrong tree – in more ways than one…

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